Goonhammer Historicals: The Great War – A Collector’s Guide to 28mm

We’re going to assume you’re new to WW1 as a wargaming period, because most people are. Not convinced of WW1 as a period to paint and wargame? Well, read this and see if you still feel that way.

Starting a new period brings with it a confusing plethora of questions on the miniatures themselves – who makes appropriate models? Which range has the most dynamic figures? The best pose variety? The best price-point? Are there any plastic kits? What 3D print options are currently available? What figures mix well together? And so on. 

Well, we’ve done the hard work for you. This article is a run down of the existing model ranges for infantry and cavalry figures in 28mm scale suitable for WW1, and scale comparison pics for those ranges that we own here at Goonhammer towers. (If you want to know about the 6-20mm miniatures available for the period, then we also got you, here).

German 7.5cm Minenwerfer. Credit: Eccentricbear.

How This Article Works

The first section looks at at five key factors. The second section covers the scale comparison pictures. The factors are:

  • Nations – Which nations does the manufacturer cover? (EW = early-war; MW = mid-war; LW= late-war; ME = Middle East).
  • Material – What are they made of – metal, plastic, resin? (N.b: STLs are stereolithography files, the files used for 3d printing).
  • Range – How good is the range of units available to form a decent force? How good is the pose variety? 
  • Style – In what style are they sculpted? How dynamic are the poses? (Note that questions of taste and style are always subjective – so your mileage may vary).  
  • Price – What is the cost of the average figure? How does this compare. to the rest of the market? 
    • £ – £1 or less per infantry figure. 
    • ££ – £1-2 per infantry figure.
    • £££ – £2 or more per infantry figure.  

(N.b. we assume that STLs will be printed many times at home and will therefore almost always come in under £1 per infantry figure). 

Given the plethora of ranges, and the near impossibility of getting hands on all of them for less than a king’s ransom, our observations will be based on the pictures and information supplied by the manufacturers on their webshops, or where the Goomhammer team do own them, on our observations of the models themselves. We’d like to thank those manufacturers who supplied models to us to help with this process. (If you’re a manufacturer and think we’ve done you dirty, we’d love it if you sent us a sample to prove us wrong!)

Note that we are not going to prejudice any particular production material – resin, plastic and metal all have their pros and cons, their champions and their detractors. At the end of the day, a lot of it comes down to personal choice and what you’re used to. 

Range Overviews

Great War Miniatures

(stocked by Northstar and Scarab in the UK, and Brigade in the US)

A mix of LW German miniatures from GWM. Credit: Eccentricbear

Nations: EW Belgium, France, Germany and Britain. LW Germany, Britain and the US.

Material: Metal. 

Range: The late-war German and British ranges are the most comprehensive and include weapons teams (such as mortars and flamethrowers) and specialist infantry (such as trench raiders). Early and late-war cavalry are represented. This is one of the most complete ranges available.

German stormtroopers, GWM. Credit: Great War Miniatures.

Style: The miniatures are very historically accurate, with attention paid to specific details and uniform adaptations, particularly in the trench raider and stormtrooper units. The sculpting style is slightly chunky with slightly oversized hands. The pose variety is high. There are some very characterful models (shout out to the trench raiders and signallers in particular). This is a great miniature line well worth your time. 

Price: ££

Wargames Atlantic (Plastics)

Russian Infantry, WA. Credit: Chris Hindmarsh.

Nations: MW and LW French, British and Germans. Russians.

Material: Plastic 

Range: Each box contains 30-35 multi-part figures and can build an understrength platoon. Each box includes platoon options such as LMGs, rifle grenades, grenades, pistols, trench clubs etc and can also build models to represent officers and NCOs. 

German and French infantry, plastics from WA. Credit: ClassWarcraft.

Style: The sculpts are a reasonable compromise between realistic proportions and paintability/durability. As with all multi-part plastics, pose quality and dynamism depends on your level of skill at assembling them, and they also don’t come with any instructions, so some beginners (and veterans) may struggle a bit. The quality of the plastics seems to be steadily increasing over time, with the most recent release (Russians) being superior to the first (Germans). 

Price: £ 

Goonhammer have reviewed the French, British and Russian plastic kits from WA in detail.

Wargames Atlantic (STLs)

US Hotchkiss HMG, WA. Credit: Wargames Atlantic

Nations: LW British, French and Germans. Ottomans, Russians, Japanese, French, Americans, Arab nationalists.

Material: Resin (3D print)

Range: The range so far is fairly limited but growing (WA digital release a new pack every month or so). There are some very interesting ‘niche’ units (female Russian ‘death battalion’ anyone?) here as well as useful expansions to the plastics, such as HMG teams for the major nations. We can also hope (!) that the most popular will become plastic kits at some point in the future. 

Style: The sculpts are (mostly) of the same style as those used for the plastic kits. Pose variety is reasonably good, but does rely on the kits being multi-part, which leaves things up to the quality of assembly.   

Price: £ (The cavalry in particular should work out much cheaper than metal equivalents)

[N.b. The author has printed some of the French and German HMG teams and they can be tricky – it’s best to assemble them digitally prior to printing. The supports will also need looking at.] 


Mixed French infantry (metropolitan and colonial), Skytrex. Credit: Skytrex.

Nations: France (MW and LW). 

Material: Metal

Range: Only covers infantry and command figures, and a limited number of poses. However, separate heads allow these to be used for a range of units, including Chasseurs Alpins and Tirailleurs, and improve the variation and customisation that is possible.  

The separate head system in action – french infantry from Skytrex. Credit: Eccentricbear

Style: The proportions are a good compromise between realism and making the figures paintable/durable (the bayonets for example have been thickened up to prevent breakage, which is nice). The face sculpts are very characterful and include many full beards – true poilus indeed! The proportions and details are finer than most other metal figures on the market. For my money, these are some of the best French figures available, if you can afford them! 

Price: £££

A full Goonhammer review of the Skytex French is forthcoming. 

Artisan Designs

(sold by Northstar and Brigade)

Arab cavalry in their glory, Artisan. Credit: Artisan Designs.

Nations: Arab nationalists.

Material: Metal. 

Range: The AD range is tightly focused on irregular Arab forces and covers the basics of the infantry and cavalry needed (including camels), although there are no heavier weapons than the Lewis gun. It includes a character figure specifically for T.E. Lawrence (aka “Laurence of Arabia”). Pose variety is good.  

Style: The figures are characterful and sculpted in a chunky, pulpy style. The cavalry models are really dynamic and frankly, just gorgeous! 

Price: ££ (The camels are quite pricy, but they are large lumps o’metal after all)

Copplestone Castings

(sold by Northstar)

British infantry ready for the tropics, CC. Credit: Eccentricbear

Nations: British (ME), Indians and Ottomans.

Material: Metal. 

Range: The range is quite small and covers the basics only (infantry, command, machine guns) However, it includes pilot models (both full and from the shoulders up) so if you want to put pilots in your WW1 aircraft (and why wouldn’t you?), this is the place to look. (N.b. Slightly off-topic, but there is a huge “back of beyond” range available from CC that can be used for the Russian civil war and other wars and turmoil that immediately followed WW1 –  check it out). 

Ottoman officers, CC. Credit: Copplestone Castings.

Style: Sculpted by the veteran Mark Copplestone, these are in his classic chunky, pulpy style, and the command figures have plenty of character.  The pose variety on the infantry is a bit limited –  they are all variations on advancing, so some firing, crouching or attacking poses would be welcome, but there is good pose variety in the Lewis gun pack and characters and generally enough to be getting on with. 

Price: ££

Woodbine Designs

(sold by Gripping Beast and Scarab

British Tommies manufacturing jam tin bombs, Woodbine. Credit: Woodbine Designs.

Nations: British (EW, LW and ME). French (EW and LW). Ottomans, Arab nationalists, Indians and ANZACs. 

Material: Metal

Range: Each range covers the basics of what you would need and also includes a few nice characters and vignette packs (I particularly like the Brits busy making jam tin bombs!). Most figures have separate heads allowing for good customisation and flexibility. 

ANZAC, French and Ottoman infantry, from Woodbine. Credit: ClassWarcraft.

Style: Detailed. Slightly chunky with larger hands. The poses are very varied and natural-looking (they even managed to nail the ‘man throwing grenade pose’, a rarity indeed!)

Price: ££ 

Colonel Muller Miniatures

French reserve infantry 1940, CMM. Credit: Colonel Muller

Nations: Late-war French.

Material: STL (although physical prints can be purchased through 3rd party merchants)

Range: Extensive, including support weapons, specialists and lovely vignettes. This is actually a WW2 range. However, the French uniform and equipment from WW1 went into WW2 with a limited number of changes, particularly for the reserve infantry (the biggest difference being the haversack). The Officers are virtually indistinguishable. If you squint a bit or do some green stuff work, the vast majority of these models will work very well in my opinion. 

37mm French trench gun, CMM. Credit: Eccentricbear

Style: Chunky, and perhaps a little short in the leg. The faces have a wonderful gallic character, without becoming caricatures. The post variety is excellent and includes ‘at ease’ figures.   

Price: £ (Probably the best value among the STL offerings on the market in my opinion). 

Des Tranches Aux Barricades 

French infantry and characters in tropical dress, DTAB. Credit: Des Tranches Aux Barricades

Nations: Late-war France. France in the Middle-East. Ottomans. Arab Nationalists. 

Material: Resin (3D print). The French are also available as STLs. 

Range: The range is focused on the Middle-East. I reckon most of the French can also be used on the Western Front as colonial troops armed with the Berthier rifle. The range includes infantry, some support weapons, command, cavalry and various vignettes and fun extras. 

Style: The style tends towards realistic proportions. There are a large variety of dynamic and interesting poses. Heads are available separately allowing for easy customisation. Some of the sculpts are a little ‘long-necked’ in my personal view, but this feels like an easily resolved issue. 

Price: Physical resin prints: £££. STLs: £ (Some of the files are on the pricier side, but the cavalry in particular though should work out much cheaper than metals if home-printed)

1st Corps 

Motorcyclists with Vickers MG, 1st Corps. Credit: 1st Corps.

Nations: Mid- to late-war Germans and British.

Material: Metal. 

Range: Small, but notably includes a British dispatch rider, and a motorcycle with machine gun sidecar (which look like great fun). 

Style: Chunky and old-school. The proportions and poses can be a little odd in places. 

Price: £

Early War Miniatures 

German stormtroopers carrying a Granatwerfer 16 forward, from EWM. Credit: Early War Miniatures.

Nations: Late-war Germans and British. Early- and late-war French. Middle-east British. Ottomans, Belgians, Americans and Arab nationalists.

Material: Metal.

Range: Extensive. Includes many special weapons and options hard to find elsewhere. 

Style: The sculpting is basic but serviceable. The details can look a bit soft or scratchy. The pose variety is good.   

Price: £ (Probably the cheapest metal option out there.)

Steve Barber Models

London Scots rifleman in cap, early war, from SBM. Credit: Steve Barber Models

Nations: Early-war French, British and Germans. Americans. 

Material: Metal

Range: Fairly limited. However, it includes some useful niche models like London Scots, French zouaves, dismounted French dragoons and US trench raiders with shotguns. 

Style: Quite chunky and old-school. The poses are a little limited and stiff in places. 

Price: ££

Scarab Miniatures 

Italian infantry attacking, from Scarab. Credit: Scarab Miniatures.

Nations: Late-war British and French. Austro-Hungarians and Italians. 

Material: Metal

Range: Each nation has a good range of sets, including weapons teams, command and special units. Kudos for covering Austro-Hungarians and Italians as models for these are hard to come-by! 

Style: Chunky and old-school with large hands. The posing is mixed – some figures are dynamic and characterful (the Italian arditi and austro-hungarian stormtroopers get particular mention) but others are a bit stiff looking. 

Price: ££

Footsore Miniatures

Scottish highland officers and NCOs in aprons and bonnets, suitable for EW, from FM. Credit: Footsore Miniatures.

Nations: EW British.

Material: Metal.

Range: The range is quite tight and covers the basics, but does also include early war cavalry and highlanders. 

Style: The sculpting is detailed and slightly chunky, with characterful faces. The pose variety is good and very natural-looking.   

Price: £££

Empress Miniatures

German infantry in caps and pre-war tunics, from EM. Credit: Empress Miniatures.

Nations: Russians. EW British and Germans. 

Material: Metal. 

Range: Each of the ranges is good and covers the main units you will need for the EW. They also include full limbers with horse teams, which is quite unusual. 

Style: Tending towards realistic proportions. Extremely detailed and crisp. Poses are natural and varied. (The Empress tagline “nothing similar is quite as good” feels apt – I don’t play EW and now I want these! Then again, I’m a sucker for an Empress mini.)

Price: £££

Ebor Miniatures 

EW French infantry in kepis manning Hotckiss HMGs, Ebor. Credit: Ebor Miniatures.

Nations: EW French. 

Material: Metal. 

Range: The range is quite small, covering command, infantry and HMGs.These figures all wear the kepi and are therefore only really suitable for 1914/early 1915. The pose variety is good. 

Style: The sculpting is chunky and old-school. The heads and hands are large. The poses are good.  

Price: £

Brigade Miniatures 

Italian Pioneers and Sappers (looking like they have stumbled straight out of the 14th century), from BM.  Credit: Brigade Games

Nations: LW British and French. Ottomans, ANZACs, Indians, Autstro-Hungarians, Italians, Belgians and Americans.  

Material: Metal. 

Range: Huge! Most nations have more than the basics. Some interesting units not commonly seen elsewhere include: Australian light horse, British yeomanry, dismounted British cavalry, Belgian Askari, Russian Naval Brigade, Czech Legion, Tyrolean standschutzen, Italian Arditi and Italian pioneers (complete with their hilarious medieval headgear). The pose variety is generally good. 

US Marines destroying a bunker, BGM. Credit: Eccentricbear/Jharatacpaints.

Style: The sculpting style is slightly chunky, with good overall proportions and clear details. The poses are varied and natural. There are some very characterful models.

Price: ££ (Although the bulk pack deals for basic infantry can reduce this).

(n.b. Brigade is one of the few stockists of WW1 figures based in the good ol’ U S of A, for you yanks out there). 

Wargames Foundry

British officers and NCOs, WF. Credit: Wargames Foundry.

Nations: EW and LW British, French and Germans. ANZACS. 

Material: Metal.

Range: Good, includes German cavalry and a wide-range of British infantry, although the French are more limited. There is a good variety of useful characters, vignettes and support weapons. 

British Infantry attacking, WF. Credit: Wargames Foundry.

Style: Very old-school. There is not much dynamism in the poses of the rank and file (the characters are much better though), and some look quite stiff.    

Price: £££

(N.b. The foundry website holds some useful articles on force organization and painting, so make sure to check those out!)


Australian camel corps charging, Eureka. Credit: Eureka.

Nations: Serbians, Bulgarians, Russians, Ottomans, ANZACs, and British (ME).

Material: Metal. 

Range: The range is wide but shallow. Notable inclusions are a Russian tachanka (machine-gun cart), Gurkhas and the Australian Camel Corps. The range of poses is ok. Separate heads are available for the Serbians (and include some very fine beards).   

Style: Slightly chunky, mostly with good proportions. The sculpts are a bit of a mixed bag with the ANZACs and Serbians of noticeably better quality. The poses are generally natural –  although there are some models throwing grenades which look a bit off to me. 

Price: £££


The Harlem Hellfighters (369th infantry regiment) in a mix of US and French uniform/equipment, from Gaddis. Credit: Gaddis.

Nations: EW French, German and British. British in the ME, ANZACs and Indians. Serbians, Russians, Austro-Hungarians, Ottomans. 

Material: Metal 

Range: Huge breadth, although shallow in places. Each nation varies in the number of packs available but each covers the main bases at minimum (infantry, machine gun, command).  There are plenty of cavalry options and some interesting specific units such as Zouaves, camels and the Harlem Hellfighters. 

Russian officer, from Gaddis. Credit: ClassWarcraft.

Style: The sculpting is quite old-school and sometimes lacks a bit of detail. The poses generally look natural and there is good variety. The cavalry in particular looks well-proportioned. The faces have decent character.

Price: ££

Old Glory 

French trench fighters, using a mixture of improvised close combat weaponry, from OG.

Nations: LW British, French, US and Germans. Italians, Serbians, Russians, Austro-Hungarians. 

Material: Metal. 

Range: The British, French, US, Russian and German ranges are extensive and include lots of extras, such as messengers, trench raiders, heavy mortars and cavalry. The other nations have smaller ranges. The pose variety is generally very good. 

Style: The sculpting is quite chunky and the casting perhaps a little rough, but the poses are generally natural looking. The photos are not the best quality on the web shop (and some products have no photos) so it is hard to tell how crisp the details really are to be honest.  

Price: ££ (although if you join their membership scheme, for $50 you can get 40% off for a year).

Scouts Out 

German patrol, Scouts Out. Credit: Scouts Out.

Nations: Italians, Austro-Hungarians, LW British, LW French, LW German

Material: STL

Range: In terms of variety, there are really only a handful of models available per nation, but that works fine if you’re using them as intended with the Scouts Out! rules, which are warband style and only require a handful of models.

German rifleman, from Scouts Out. Credit: ClassWarcraft.

Style: The Scouts Out models are extremely cool. Every model is in motion – stabbing, shooting, running, or jumping. In terms of size, they are ostensibly 28mm, but actually measure closer to 32mm by default. This means they generally will not scale well with other manufacturers unless you reduce their size when printing. This is easier said than done, however, as they are very intricate and the fine details on the models may become brittle/fragile if shrunk down. 

Price: £ (Although if you only print each pose only once, these are going to end up quite pricey)

Eagles of Empire

Preview image of 1914 British infantry, from EoE. Credit: Eagles of Empire

Nations: Early-war French, Germans and British.

Material: Metal

Range: This is a new range coming to Kickstarter and so far we have only seen previews of a few riflemen. We’ll have to wait and see!

Style: The models are hand-sculpted and in the preview pictures the proportions look realistic and well-defined. 

Price: TBC

Scale Comparison Images

Left to right: Copplestone, Artisan, Skytrex, Wargames Atlantic, Great War Miniatures, Wargames Atlantic. Credit: Eccentricbear

Left to right: Skytrex, Copplestone, Skytrex, Artisan, Skytrex. Credit: Eccentricbear

Left to Right: Scouts Out, Gaddis, Wargames Atlantic, Great War, Brigade, Woodbine. Credit: ClassWarcraft

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